In which foods do we find Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid) and how important is it?

Broad beans - Photo By Thanasis Bounas
Broad beans - Photo By Thanasis Bounas

Vitamin B9, also known as folate or folic acid, is important for various bodily functions, particularly in the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells. It plays a crucial role in preventing neural tube defects in unborn babies when taken by pregnant women. Folate also supports cell division and growth, aids in the formation of amino acids, and helps in the metabolism of homocysteine, which is important for cardiovascular health.

Foods that are good sources of folate include:

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and lettuce
Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans
Fortified cereals and grains such as bread, pasta, and rice
Citrus fruits and juices like oranges and orange juice
Brussels sprouts
Liver (though consumption should be limited due to its high vitamin A content)

It’s important for pregnant women, as well as women who are planning to become pregnant, to ensure they get adequate folate to prevent neural tube defects in their babies. Folate deficiency can lead to health issues such as megaloblastic anemia and may contribute to other conditions like cardiovascular disease. However, excessive intake of folic acid through supplements can have adverse effects as well, so it’s important to maintain a balanced intake in line with dietary recommendations.

Broad beans - Photo By Thanasis Bounas
Broad beans – Photo By Thanasis Bounas

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